Easter7A.28.5.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
28 May 2017. Easter 7A. (White).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People and their stewardship
of this land throughout the ages.

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

In this safe place let us be together.

For here together we will weave the threads of our lives
into a wondrous vision;
a bright new tapestry of dreams
of times to come.  SHardwick/ea-adapt

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

God of light and the rainbow,
light up our world with colour.

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include the categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
God Who Sets Us on a Journey”  (Tune: ‘Canvas’’)   32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.  Jill Dine
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
As a workman gathers his tools
As a poet gathers her images
As a musician gathers his band
As a scholar gathers her arguments
As a writer gathers his stories
As a preacher gathers her texts
All  So God gathers people for service.

Act of Awareness
We have gathered in this ordinary, yet sacred place, again.
May we continue to create here a circle of love,
ever expanding,
ever growing.

A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.

OR

We pray:
Spinner, weaver of our lives, your loom is love.
May we who are gathered here be empowered by that love
to weave new patterns of truth and justice
into a web of life that is strong, beautiful, and everlasting. (Adapted/Barbara Wells)
May it be so!. 

Hymn Crowded Table, Urgent Faces”  (Tune: ‘Maria’s Tune’ 87 87D)
Crowded table, urgent faces,
people longing for the bread,
bread of life and bread for living,
bread for rising from the dead;
Young and old, both men and women,
those for whom this life is hard,
those who live in warmth and comfort,
those whose life is stained or tarred;

All are welcome, wise or foolish,
at this table all are fed,
sharing wine in celebration,
eating Christ’s communion bread.
Then in costly life and giving
we will share what we receive,
demonstrate in daily living
all that we affirm, believe.  © Andrew Pratt

OR

Creativity – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Austria’, 87 87D)          26 SNS2
When beliefs and rigid doctrines,
Like stone statues cold as death,
Discipline us into silence,
Rob us of life-giving breath;
We can voice our great discomfort
As we recognise the truth
That our life and all our living
Give us insight from our youth.

We would celebrate evolving;
In the webs of life we bond
To the cosmos and our family,
Humans here and those beyond;
Thus we're called to live together
With respect for all that is,
For the cosmos and our planet
With respect for all that lives.

'Creativity' is present
Ever since before the start;
Brings to birth such great abundance;
Gives birth to a loving heart.
With this birthing of the novel
'Creativity' transforms;
Energy and life emerges;
Beauty seen in all its forms.

So we celebrate the myst’ry;
Stand in silence; look with awe;
Countless years in billions ended
Since the opening of the store
Of variety and brilliance,
Of the life-force and of grace;
It's amazing and so wondrous
We can claim to have a place.  (George Stuart)

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned after an absence.

Your presence both enriches us
and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

Meditation
“Landscape"
By David Best. …from under the bench/41.

our hills are not
silent but
shout tall
our rivers sing
their own
song to southern seas
our birds have
no foreign language
our light has
its own brightness
our night
the black of homely black
our sun warms
our wind cleans
bodies which are colded here
and splendidly selfsoiled
our sweat waters the earth
and gives hearty growth,
filling our geography
with the art and dreams
which spill
from our being
and shapes our clay.

when will we learn
that imported wisdom
is a landscape
of little joy?

Centering Silence
In this time silence may we move
from busy-ness to quietness…
(Silence)

God of life
God of peace
God of wonders that will not cease...

Present with us now.

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Some stories from our biblical tradition shall now be read.
Our reader is (NN).

Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 104
Margie Abbott. Sparks of the Universe/22.

God, how fertile your genius!
You shape everything,
You fill the world
With what you do.

Le Let God’s glory endure.
The Holy One delights in creating.
Ri I will sing to my God,
Make music for my God,
As long as I live.

We praise you God
For the beauty of creation,
And stand in your presence
In awe and wonder.

Traditional Gospel:
John 17:1-5, 11. (NRSV)

After Jesus had spoken he looked to heaven and said,
'Father, the hour has come.
Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,
since you have given him authority over all people,
to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

'And this is eternal life, that they may know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

'I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.
So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence
with the glory that I had in your presence  before the world existed...

'And now I am no longer in the world,
but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me,
so that they may be one, as we are one.’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany of Praise (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

Praise the sun, the moon, the stars,
Mn Praise the ant, the tree, the shining leaf.
Wn Praise every child large and small,
All  Praise the one within us all.

Praise the flower and the winding weed,
Mn Praise each blade of grass and every dewdrop.
Wn Praise dark moist earth.
Mn Praise rock, sand, and shoal.
Wn Praise wind - nature's breath.
Mn Praise those with fin, fur, and finger,
Wn Praise the winged ones, the tiny ones,
and all the ones that live unseen.
All  Praise brightest morning and darkest night.

Praise the prickly and the unpopular.
Mn Praise the crow's cry and the beggar's sigh.
Wn Praise the dancers, the doers and the dreamers.
All  Praise those that give, those who love, and those who heal.

Praise to wanderers, weavers and seekers.
Wn Praise sounds of thunder, crashing waves, and shouts for justice.
Praise silence.
Mn Praise spirit.
Wn Praise all colours.
Praise all acts of compassion.
All  Praise all.  Praise all.  Praise all(K Huff/adapted)

Sharing 'The Peace'
God makes peace within us.  Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us.  Let us share it. (nwi)
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

The peace of God is here... to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

CELEBRATING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Amazing Love(Tune: 'Amazing Grace’)
Amazing love that Jesus told,
Two thousand years ago,
A story new, a story old,
A love we all can know.

He spoke to crowds in Palestine,
He speaks to us today,
He tells us all of love divine,
To us he shows the way.

The realm of God is one of love,
Of justice and of peace.
It’s not about a realm above -
Through love this world release.

What we want done to us, can be
The rule by which we live;
To follow it will make us free
To share, to love, to give.

The story comes to challenge us,
It’s not the easy road,
For us to love, as Jesus loved,
To bear another’s load.

The realm of God is here with us
When love and peace we share,
Although we fail, we know God’s grace,
It’s love that helps us there.

Amazing love that Jesus told,
Two thousand years ago,
A story new, a story old,
A love for all to know.  Margaret Rolfe

OR

Where Does Compassion Start?(Tune: ‘Love Unknown’, 66 66 4444)      45 PaT
(A response to the ‘Charter for Compassion’)

Where does compassion start?
How does compassion grow?
Her seed is at the heart
of every faith we know:
compassion honours others' place,
dethroning self with willing grace.

How does compassion thrive
in worlds of greed and grief?
Her goodness stays alive
through those of strong belief:
compassion, luminous and clear,
outshining wastes of war and fear.

Where is compassion's role
in cultures, or in creeds?
At centre, with the soul
who feels another's needs:
compassion brings the touch of friend,
a bandage that will bind and mend.

Dynamic is the power
that heals, restores and gives,
connecting at the core
with everyone who lives,
transcending culture, colour, race,
compassion builds the house of peace.  (Shirley Erena Murray, 2009)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this safe space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
May we today be touched by grace.
May we move beyond viewing this life only through a frame,
Wm  but touch and be touched by it,
Mn  know it and be known by it,
All   Love it, and be loved by it.  (Chinook Psalter/ep)

And so we take a flame and light our special Care Candle…
The Care Candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba' Prayer:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All   Dear One,
closer to us than our own hearts,
farther from us than the most distant star,
you are beyond naming.

May your powerful presence become obvious
not only in the undeniable glory of the sky,
but also in the seemingly base
and common processes of the earth.

Give us what we need, day by day,
to keep body and soul together, because
clever as you have made us,
we still owe our existence to you.

We recognize that to be reconciled with you,
we must live peaceably and justly with other human beings,
putting hate and bitterness behind us.

We are torn between our faith in your goodness
and our awareness of the evil in your creation,
so deliver us from the temptation to despair.

Yours alone is the universe and all its majesty and beauty.
So it is.  Amen.  
(Jim Burklo, 2010)

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation:

"Somewhere someone:”
The kingdom of love is coming because:
All  somewhere someone is kind when others are unkind,
somewhere someone shares with another in need,
somewhere someone refuses to hate, while others hate,
somewhere someone is patient - and waits in love,
somewhere someone returns good for evil,
somewhere someone serves another, in love,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you?
  (jke)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

Welcoming to the Table
At this table we give thanks for
justice, love, peace and freedom.
All At this table we give thanks for friends and strangers.

At this table we welcome old and young.
All are invited.  (Carter Heyward)

Offerings
Our offerings and gifts of bread and wine shall now be received.

Presentation
May our act of giving bring these gifts to life:
new hope of healing;
fresh ways of coping;
a chance to rest;
a chance to work;
a way to live gracefully.

Thanksgiving
Source and Sustainer of life we name God,
present and active from the beginning of time,
we are gathered in your ever presentness.
All  And it is right that we give thanks and praise,
and tell our stories of celebration and connectedness.

Here we will offer praise and thanksgiving.
Here we will remember the words and deeds
of the one called Jesus of Nazareth,
who dared to call you Abba
and invited us to do the same.

We remember that wherever he came, people rediscovered
their humanity, became filled with new meaning and purpose,
and found a new courage to live,
not just for themselves but for others.

We remember how he spoke of a new reality he called the realm of God,
already among us yet coming in ever greater fullness,
creating communities of justice, love and peace.

We remember how he spoke in parables about
a lost coin, a lost child and a sheep that strayed,
in order to proclaim your inclusive love.

And we remember our tradition over the ages…
How, in a meal with his disciples, Jesus took bread in his hands,
blessed it, broke it, and shared it with them:
    ‘Let the bread you share be the means of my presence with you for all time.’

After the meal, he poured a cup of wine:
    ‘Share this cup, all of you, as a remembrance
    of the open meals I shared with all.’

Bread and Wine
So now we take this bread and wine,
breaking it and pouring it out…
that they might be shared among us as equals.
Bread broken, wine poured out

May this bread and wine nourish and sustain us on our life’s journey:
transforming, enabling, and empowering us,
as we continue to follow in the way of Jesus.  (Adapt/ R Osing, L&L Seminar)

Communion
Let us break bread together.
Bread and Wine served in small groups around the Table

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Chant For The Seasons(Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.)    73 (v1-2) SLT
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us. (Repeat)
Sweet the angling sun,
sweet upon the air
the smell of blue mist rising.
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.
Glorious the trees,
glorious the sight
of rust leaves, falling.
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.

Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us. (Repeat)
Grey the windy storms,
cold upon our cheeks
the wet rain glistens, glistens.
Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.
leaping is the fire,
golden in the glass
the cider glows like amber.
Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.
Remain standing

OR

"Bring us to Your Place of Promise”  (Tune: ‘CWM Rhondda’)
Bring us to your place of promise
God of our inheritance.
You have led the lifetime journey
Of your loyal supplicants.
We rejoice in all your goodness
Giving you our first and best
Giving you our first and best.

From the depths of grave oppression
From their bondage and distress
You have freed our righteous forbears
With intent to save and bless.
We rejoice in all your goodness
Giving you our first and best
Giving you our first and best.

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week with expectation and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished

Be still...

And let God’s peace wash over you
like waves lapping over stones
smoothing rough edges of insurmountable worries
to tiny insignificant grains of sand,
leaving smooth shining love.

Words of Blessing
May you be wholly present in your own life,
ready to be surprised by the wonder
of each ordinary moment.

Go in peace.
May the earth be warm under your feet,
the rain bring the gentle flowers of the bush bright around you,
and the wind blows as the breath of the Spirit before you.
All Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) Chant For The Seasons” (Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.)     73 (v3-4) SLT
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us. (Repeat)
Sharp the smell of loam,
bursting in our eyes
the turrets of the tulip.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.
Greening is the grass,
soft upon our brows
the sunlight warm caresses.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.

Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us. (Repeat)
Gliding are the hawks,
hovering above
the hot and yellow hillside.
Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.
crickets in the night,
chirping in our ears
the sound of moon-lit music.
Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.  (Mark L Belletini)

OR

"Bring us to Your Place of Promise”  (Tune: ‘CWM Rhondda’)
Help us share the ancient story
Lived among us even now.
As our parents loved and trusted
We before your glory bow.
We rejoice in all your goodness
Giving you our first and best
Giving you our first and best.

Ev'ry day we seek to serve you
Passing on what we receive
That the world may know your mercy
Hear your promise and believe.
We rejoice in all your goodness
Giving you our first and best
Giving you our first and best.  (Lavon Bayler)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time of fellowship.


You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches


Some of the resources used in shaping this liturgy:
Abbott, M.  Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal use. Unley. MediaCom Education, 2001.
Bayler, L.  Fresh Winds of the Spirit. Book 2. Liturgical Resources for Year A. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 1992.
Best, D. C.  …from under the bench. Wellington. Steele Roberts Ltd, 2005.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a new day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000. 
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
(PaT) Murray, S. E. A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto: G Stuart, 2009.
Osing, R. “Liturgy: Holy Eucharist”. In private circulation from the author. Liturgy & Literacy Seminar, 2006.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.

Web sites/Other:
Huff, UUA Worship Web. Boston. < http://www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt. "Crowded Table, Urgent Faces"  Direct from author. 2005.
Jim Burklo. <http://www.jimburklo.com/>
Margaret Rolfe. "Amazing Love". Direct from the author.

rexae74@gmail.com